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Member Since 02 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:30 PM

Topics I've Started

Lifting The Veil Of Naiveté

29 March 2015 - 04:32 PM

As mentioned before, I have never been good with names. I have seen a ton of pots over the years, some I liked, some I thought clunky, some I thought were chasing avante garde to be the next big thing, some I thought they were using the limits of technique for an excuse for poor design or craftsmanship. This is  part of my naivete and the lack of depth in my understanding of many aspects of ceramics. That said, this last NCECA was quite an eye opener in many ways. Going around with Tom, looking at and handling a number of pots clarified, and reinforced many of my own beliefs I had about ceramics that I had assumed were prejudices on my own part.


At the same time, I attended some sessions that exposed me to some different ideas, and artists. I also heard some say they never went to demonstrations because they knew most of what people were doing. Maybe I being a teacher, and having a pretty well rounded background in making would not get anything new out of them. However, I usually approach a demo in a different way. I may know the pots, but not the person. I go to a demo to relate to the person, to understand as best I can what influences them, and to see how they approach the work. Often I am quite surprised, and sometimes quite disappointed. At this NCECA I was blown away to discover a name I had never seen before, look at work that was completely new and fresh to me and to watch an individual that worked tirelessly demonstrating, answering questions and taking part in discussion with careful honest opinions. However, in retrospect he mouthed very little, but his work spoke volumes. I had never heard of Gustovo Perez before the conference, my bad. However, if you have never heard of him, or seen his work, please google him. In my humble opinion, he is akin to a Picasso of ceramics.


So have you gone to an event, and seen something or someone that you have never heard of or seen before that raised your "veil of naivete"?




Nc Potters Conference

19 December 2014 - 07:36 PM

I just got an email on the NC Potters conference. This year theme is Japan. The following link is to the conference info.




I hope I did not cross any lines by posting this. I have enjoyed this conference the two times I have attended, and will be looking forward to this years.



Fall To Winter Projects

06 October 2014 - 08:11 AM

Temperatures here have been dipping into the lower 40's at night, and the shop is in need of heat early mornings. As Winter makes its way, I will be finishing up the chalices and patens for next Spring, finishing Christmas gifts, and completing some Canister sets. When Winter make it here, shop will be closed down til Spring. Electric is just too expensive to heat a brick garage for sub freezing temps.


What will you be doing for Fall, and Winter?

Kudos To Marcia For Her Article In Sept/oct 14, Pottery Making

27 August 2014 - 01:52 PM

I just finished my preliminary peruse of the latest Pottery Making Magazine. The article by Marcia Selsor was an excellent introduction to the Obvara process. Excellent pictures of pots with close ups of textures. A nice, but brief historical background, and a summary of the process.  Thanks for your contribution Marcia, great work!


04 August 2014 - 08:41 AM

In the past, I have often written that I wedge all of my clay even though I take it right out of the bag. There are several reasons for this, and I wanted to take a few lines to explain them further and throw out some ideas for thought. My reasons for wedging clay for the last 30+ years are as follows:

  • If the clay came out of the pug mill, it usually needed to be blended to an even consistency, remove air bubbles, dry it our some, and line up the particles so that for better strength.
  • If out of the box at home, it had usually frozen over the Winter here in Central PA. Freezing drives water out of the clay to the outside, and leaves all sorts of striations in the clay block. I start wedging this by turning all sides into the center with cut and slam, then cut and slam the entire block about 5 times, finish by spiral cone wedging the clay into weighed out pot sized amounts.
  • Wedging as exercise. I wedge clay for exercise, as crazy as that might seem, but when throwing for hours at a time, the break to wedge up the ball of clay to be used on a pot down the line is a welcome way of stretching the back and shoulders. This also brings me to the final reason I forced myself to not be lazy about wedging clay.
  • Finally, wedging as therapy. Years ago I was in a bad auto wreck that left me with some damaged vertebrae. This caused lots of pain in the lower back for decades. Some days I could hardly get out of bed without levering my body out of bed with the weight of my legs. I found that hanging from an overhead bar would stretch the back and help some. However, my go to exercise became wedging because of the way the process worked. . . .  at least for me. The process of wedging lifts the shoulders upward and back as you push against the clay and at the same time the shoulder lift and the body movement stretches the back muscles and the spine itself. With regular rhythm and movement in the wedging process where you are not trying to hurry the job, or wedge too much clay you can do wonders for you core and spine.

So, I leave this open to comment, and I am sure many of you will go on about getting a pug mill, which for me would be a big investment, but as I get older I have been looking for a good used one. However, even with a deairing pug mill, I would still probably wedge for the last two reasons above.